Monday, June 30, 2014

The Story Chapter 17 - Are You Available For God's Assignment

Sally Edwards is a highly esteemed third grade teacher at Jacksboro Elementary in Texas.  She was preparing her students for the TAKS test and compiled an exam to prepare them for it.  There were twenty questions.  Number eleven on the test was this question: “List in any order the four seasons.” 

A whopping 67% of her 3rd grade students answered: “Dove season, deer season, duck season, and turkey season.” 

I don’t know what season of life you are in, but I do know this.  God has something for you to do.  He did for Jeremiah.  He told Jeremiah he had a work for him to do.  His assignment?  Stand in the rubble of Jerusalem and weep.  He was also told the people would not listen to him.

That was it.  And oddly enough, Jeremiah did it.  As the people of Judah were leaving Jerusalem in single file as captives, Jeremiah stood weeping and reminding them that God would bring them back with these words:  “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23).

God had something for Jeremiah to do.  And he has something for you to do too.  In the New Testament book of Ephesians the apostle Paul writes to the church, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God created in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10).

In God’s employment contract for us today, he does not ask us to be successful by the world’s standards but rather to be faithful to him to do good things.  God is not so much concerned about your ability as he is your availability.

Just like Jeremiah, God is calling you to play a role in his Grand Story.  It may be that this is your time to change the direction of your family. Turning from a focus on you alone to a concerning yourself with the things of God.  It may be that God is calling you to reach out to a neighbor.  Perhaps he is laying on your heart a ministry where there is a need you can’t even see at the moment.

Whatever season of life you are in God is calling you to make a difference.  And he is desiring to equip you to make that difference. Right now.  Today.  Are you available for his purposes?

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Story Chapter 11 - Facing Your Giants When You Feel Small

Imagine the scene:  a scrawny sixteen year old boy standing face to face with a 9ft giant.  The odds are not in his favor.....the giant that is.   With one rock and a sling the giant goes down.

You may not have a gigantic giant taunting you to come out and fight, but you are probably facing a few other giants of your own.  Giants like the stack of past-due bills are glaring at you.  Giants like the divorce papers awaiting your signature or the depression that looms over you like the Hulk.  Maybe your giant is low self-esteem or insecurity or child abuse from your past.  But you do have your giants and so do I.  We would do well to learn from David.

He faced his giant because he trusted God no matter what.  When he arrived at the place of the standoff between Israel and Philistine, he talked about God.  He told King Saul that, "The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine." (1 Sam 17:37).  He didn't hesitate.  He confronted the giant.  Goliath came with a sword and spear, but David came with the mighty power of God.

David was God-focused, not giant-focused.  He mentions Goliath only 2 times, but God 9 times.  He knew the giant was there and he recognized his presence, but his thoughts were twice as much on God and His power.

His focus led him to face the giant rather than run away.  Goliath had taunted Israel's army for 40 days.  They were fearful and for 40 days they waited...just hoping he would go away.  But most giants don't just go away do they?  They don't go away until we face them.  So David stepped in the gap and defeated the giant.

One thing I can promise is this...After you slay one giant, there might be more to come.  As David grew up his giants took on new forms, but one thing remained the same.  David continued to trust God no matter what the world threw at him.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Are You A Deal Breaker? - Guest Blogger Kevin Brensinger

Kevin Brensinger serves as the First Impressions Director of Skyline Church.  A southern boy through and through, Kevin brings that touch of southern warmth and hospitality to his ministry.  He is the husband of 1 and daddy to 3 and he lives a life of service.  He serves God, his family, and his country as a member of the United States Coast Guard.

Are You A Deal Breaker?

What if you were the first person someone sees when visiting your church?  What kind of first impression would they have on you?  What kind of first impression are you representing for your church?  I ask myself this continuously in hopes that I am doing everything I can to help people make the choice to either visit my church or more importantly to make it their spiritual storehouse.  

We have an audacious group of volunteers in our First Impressions Team at Skyline Church, but we can't always be the first contact a guest has.  My point to this is that we all should share the responsibility to make our guests feel welcome.  Regardless of whether we are "scheduled" to serve in First Impressions, we should all go above and beyond to welcome unfamiliar faces, even if it takes us out of our own comfort zone. 

Odds are you decided to attend your church regularly because someone made you feel important enough to offer assistance, give you a tour, or offer you a cup of coffee.  Remember that EVERYONE HAS A STORY.  Every time I hear this phrase, I always think of this video made for Chic-Fil-A employees on the importance of servanthood.  (You can also click HERE)

We should strive to meet people where they are and remember that not everyone is in the same place in their walk with God.

When I ask, "Are you the deal-breaker?", I am asking if guests will be convinced or deterred by your demeanor alone to come to your church, make life changing decisions, and possibly come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Isn't that what our ultimate goal is?  What if you were the First Impression that ultimately led someone to make these decisions?  What an honorable and rewarding deed for the Kingdom.

As part of my story, I always considered saving lives in the Coast Guard as just part of the job.  It was definitely the most rewarding part of the job, but when I do this in a physical state, it pales in comparison to the lives I may have helped save in the spiritual state...All because I wanted to make sure that I was a great First Impression.

People will make their decisions to return to your church within the first 7 minutes of their visit.  Are you doing your part to make your first impression a laying impression?